AUTHOR’S NOTE: This little story was written for our Chapter 3 Christmas Concert this week. I knew I’d be reading it out loud, and so it is written with that in mind. In Charles Dickens’ day, many people were illiterate. Novels were often read out loud in public squares – and were often written in in several pieces. A couple chapters at a time would be released in publication, crowds would gather, and a reader or orator would read the books aloud. Therefore, much of Dickens’ writing pays stylistic attention not only to the eye of the reader, but to the ear of the listener as well.
In other words, you write differently when you know it’s going to be read aloud. Just a Grasshopper Like Us was written to be read aloud. The punctuation is designed that way. Wording. Paragraph breaks.
Also, it’s unpolished. It was written in 15 minutes. I like it.
Isaiah 40:22 (NLT)
God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.
As a grasshopper, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things. I’ve seen friends get stuck upside down on tall blades of grass. I’ve seen birds snatch family members. I’ve even seen crickets laugh and caterpillars sneeze. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things.
My name is Bob, by the way. Bob Hopper.
Out of all the crazy things I’ve seen though, I’ve never seen anything as crazy as when HE came into town. Yeah, we’d heard the stories about how his mom had gotten pregnant before she was married – which is a HUGE deal for us grasshoppers – and about how he was born unexpectedly while his parents were taking part in the Great Hopper Census of Green Leg County.
We’d heard bits and pieces of there being something special about him. Ya know, the usual “Grasshopper-Who-Would-Be-King” sort of deal. Then we didn’t hear much about him at all.
Well, there was that one time that my wife, Hilda – Hilda Hopper – had said his parents actually forgot about him for 3 days, leaving him behind at the big, annual Hopper Hoopla Party. I mean, really. How do you forget your nymph?!
That’s when rumors started that his parents were probably ‘grass-smokers.’ Another unfortunate and HUGE deal for us grasshoppers.
So we’d almost forgotten about him by the time he showed up again. He started giving little grasshopper speeches at First Church of The Maple Leaf and then at Insect Community Church – and sometimes he would just start talking nonsense out in the public fields and bushes.
He’d talk to us about the great dangers to the way we were living. He told us someday a swarm would come that would wipe us out if we kept on the way we were. He spoke passionately about an escape hatch that he knew about and only he could provide. He began describing a new way to live.
This, by the way, never goes over well with us grasshoppers.
We prefer life the way it always has been. And we’re not easily duped into believing silly things. One time, my cousin, Marvin – Marvin Hopper – started telling people that he was actually a Praying Mantis – just to make himself appear more spiritual – but this didn’t fool anyone. We didn’t believe Marvin and we weren’t about to believe this crazy grasshopper.
Even though some of his words were compelling, most of us weren’t buying in. But some hoppers were. Some hoppers were selling their roots and changing everything about their lives. These hoppers said if we didn’t change and believe, we’d be in trouble. And this is where it got really crazy.
This grasshopper started saying he was actually God.
We couldn’t take any more of it. A bunch of us brought him before Grasshopper Court and had him sentenced to a good beating. They brought the Dung Beetles in for this. They’re particularly good at beatings.
Long story short, this crazy Hopper was talking love, hope and a way out – up until the time they put him to death. Even more weird, some of the hoppers that’d been following him claimed to have seen him alive and well days later! They claimed this proved he wasn’t just a grasshopper, but the God he’d claimed to be.
But c’mon. How absurd would it be that God would make himself a grasshopper just like us – to show us the way out?? Crazy really.
Sometimes late at night though, when the Mrs’ legs start twitching and they startle me awake in our little nest, I start thinking about that grasshopper. I stare up in the sky at the stars and think.
I’m thinking tonight.
The stars are stretched out over us like a huge tree.
I feel smaller than normal.
I wonder – hypothetically speaking – if there was a God, how he’d even connect with us in this huge world, if he wanted to.